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Lambert rues feeble defending

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert says his team must defend set-pieces better after their shock 3-1 League Cup loss to Bradford City.

Lambert’s side have a tough task ahead of them to qualify for the League Cup final at Wembley after their defeat in the semi-final first leg on Tuesday.

Villa will host Bradford City in the return leg later this month and although Lambert argues he was not surprised by the League Two club’s tactics, the 43-year-old manager conceded his team still failed to deal with their opposition’s physicality at corners and free-kicks.

“I’m really disappointed we lost the game, we are in a game now, that’s for sure,” Lambert told Sky Sports.

“We knew what was coming – set-pieces – and we never defended them well at all.

“That’s definitely what’s hurt us but that’s certainly not good enough.

“We had a lot of the game and yes they were set-pieces but set-pieces are a vital part of the game and you’ve got to defend them.

“We didn’t do that.”

All three of Bradford City’s goals came as the result of set-pieces with powerful second-half headers from Roy McArdle and Carl McHugh putting them in the box seat ahead of the second leg at Villa Park.

Bradford City manager Phil Parkinson remains convinced, however, that his team can threaten Villa’s defence in other ways.

“There were chances at both ends and some of our attacking play was excellent,” Parkinson told The Telegraph.

“I still think Villa will be the favourites in two weeks but we go there full of confidence and the pressure will be on them.”

While Lambert has reminded his team it is only ‘half-time’ in the two-legged tie, Parkinson has warned Villa they will have to play ‘exceptionally well’ to qualify for the final.

“We’re two goals ahead and it’s game on,” Parkinson said.

“If Villa are going to get to Wembley then let’s at least make it as hard as possible for them.

“I am so proud of the performance.

“We have a great chance now and Villa will have to play exceptionally well to get to Wembley.”

Wed 9 January, 2013
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